Tuesday, November 8, 2011
More things to do with dough
A very long time ago, I posted a recipe for spinach lentil curry. It's one of my staples in cooler weather, but I wanted something a little different to go with it. I also love naan, but buying anything made out of bread these days seems like an extraordinary expense. These aren't authentic naan, but they're pretty good.
Use the pizza dough recipe from the last post, but swap in about 25% whole wheat flour.
Knead and rest the dough the same way, and when you're ready to use it, pull it out of the fridge and deflate it. Put a little oil on your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you, and tear off pieces of dough about twice the size of a ping pong ball. Stretch them out until they are about the size of your palm, then set them aside to rest for bit.
Meanwhile, heat a heavy skillet to medium low. I use a cast iron pan. You don't need to oil the pan, but you do need a lid for it.
Once the pan is hot, put a bit more oil on the dough bits and pat them out until they are about 1/4" thick, then lay them in the pan. My skillet is just about big enough to cook 2 at a time. Cover the pan and let the naan cook for 3 minutes, turn them over, and cook them another 3 minutes. That's it!
As usual, there are some things I think are important to pay attention to.
1. The pizza /baguette dough formula calls for bread flour. This makes it chewy. Adding whole wheat makes it slightly less so, but traditionally naan is made with a lower protein flour. All purpose flour would probably be closer.
2. Also traditional is the use of copious amounts of butter, mostly for frying, but also I think there is some butter or oil in the dough itself. Again, this would tenderize the dough, if you wanted a more traditional end product.
3. Additional ingredients commonly used are nigella or cumin seeds, anise seed, or caraway seed, also fried onions and or potatoes are often mixed in. I didn't have any of those things on hand when I took a notion to make these.
4. The toasty bits are vitally important! If you don't have any little chewy crusty dark bits, it won't taste like naan.
So why did I decide to use this somewhat deviant recipe to make naan? Because of my desire to have a range of versatile, cheap, generic, ingredients that I can dress up a variety of ways. A wad of flour, water & yeast doesn't get much more basic, but already I've used it for French, Italian, and Indian cooking styles. I haven't made any steamed buns with it yet, but that's next on the list.